September 1995

News

Home On The Range : Researchers Discover Success In Montana
Home On The Range : Researchers Discover Success In Montana
In the book Shoeless Joe, better known as the movie Field of Dreams, the main character converts an Iowa cornfield into a baseball field after a voice says, "If you build it, he will come." In Great Falls, Mont., supporters of the McLaughlin Research Institute (MRI) began construction of a 42,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art, genetics research facility on prairie farmland in 1991 with the hope that if they built it, scientists would come. The new building, constructed with federal and state f
Congressional Decision To Disband OTA Prompts Dire Warnings From Supporters
Congressional Decision To Disband OTA Prompts Dire Warnings From Supporters
STRONG WORDS: OSTP's Skip Johns blasts Congress for its "shortsighted act". Only a presidential veto--or a last-minute change of heart--could have stopped the Republican-led Congress from abolishing its only in-house source of science-policy analysis, the 23-year-old Office of Technology Assessment. But a threatened veto is now unlikely to come, and Congress has voted and moved on to other matters. OTA is history. On July 27, House and Senate conferees sealed the agency's fate in H.R. 104-21
Novel Application Of Federal Law To Scientific Fraud Worries Universities And Reinvigorates Whistleblowers
Novel Application Of Federal Law To Scientific Fraud Worries Universities And Reinvigorates Whistleblowers
A federal law written with corrupt Department of Defense contractors in mind has become a serious concern for university administrators, while at the same time giving scientific-fraud whistleblowers new hope for success in pressing their charges. BREAKING NEW GROUND: Scientist-lawyer Eugene Dong first saw the scientific fraud aspects of the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act, also known as the Lincoln Law, was passed in 1863 and amended more than a century later, in 1986. Originally, the
Scientist Recipients Of MacArthur Fellowships An Eclectic Collection
Scientist Recipients Of MacArthur Fellowships An Eclectic Collection
As the school year commences, returning scientists are again applying for grants, awards, and other financial support to pursue their various disciplines. But six academic scientists among the 24 recipients of this year's John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowships--popularly known as the "genius awards"--are in an extremely fortunate position: Their explorations for the next five years will extend as far as their imaginations will take them. "When the director called me up to co
Redefinition Of U.S. Patent Lifetime Triggered By GATT Raises Questions, Concerns Among Biotech Companies
Redefinition Of U.S. Patent Lifetime Triggered By GATT Raises Questions, Concerns Among Biotech Companies
Sidebar: Patent Primer MERCK SUES FOR LONGER PATENT TERM UNDER INTERIM GATT RULES Under a new definition of patent lifetimes in effect since June, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) hopes inventors who process their patent applications expeditiously can obtain an additional year or two of patent protection. But for scientists in the biotechnology industry, the question remains whether their inventions can be pushed through the system any faster. And even if PTO shortens the t
A Patent Primer
A Patent Primer
The goal of patent laws is to promote inventiveness and public disclosure of useful knowledge. In return, inventors are granted exclusive use of their inventions for a specified period. To obtain a typical patent, U.S. law requires proof that an invention is: a new and useful process, machine, manufactured item, or chemical substance; novel (never before described or existing in nature in the described form); and nonobvious. Patents are not allowed on ideas per se, only the application of a
Merck Sues For Longer Patent Term Under Interim GATT Rules
Merck Sues For Longer Patent Term Under Interim GATT Rules
Under interim rules included in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (P.L. 103-465), a number of pharmaceutical companies believed they stood to gain an extended patent term for some very profitable drugs. Initially, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) agreed with the drug-makers, then reversed its position and turned down about 80 of the hoped-for patent-term extensions. Now, Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck and Co. Inc. is suing PTO and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (

Opinion

False Claims Act Can Hamper Science With 'Bounty Hunter' Lawsuits
False Claims Act Can Hamper Science With 'Bounty Hunter' Lawsuits
Fraud and misconduct in scientific research have become a problem attracting national and international attention. Although concern over research misconduct was once confined to the scientific community, it has since become the focus of media scrutiny and the obsession of congressional committees. With this growing interest has come increased governmental intervention, particularly where public research funds are involved. Whereas deceitful scientists were once subjected only to the disapprov

Letter

Duesberg Responds
Duesberg Responds
Samuel Katz (Letters, The Scientist, Aug. 21, 1995, page 11) criticizes my proposal that AIDS is caused by recreational drugs, AZT, and other noncontagious risk factors for not discussing ~maternal-infant transmission of HIV/AIDS.~ However, I have pointed out explicitly in The Scientist that about 80 percent of pediatric AIDS in the United States and Europe is the consequence of intravenous drugs received by newborns from their mothers prior to birth (P. Duesberg, The Scientist, March 20, 1995,

Commentary

DNA Methlyation Society's Main Objective: Fostering Communication Among Scientists
DNA Methlyation Society's Main Objective: Fostering Communication Among Scientists
Author: Stanley Hattman As scientific progress and information has exploded in all areas of biomedical research, there has been a concomitant proliferation of journals. Keeping abreast of the published literature in all disciplines, as well as communication of other useful forms of information, has been made more difficult by this proliferation. To some measure, professional societies could be more active in promoting communication among their own members, as well as to the greater scientific

Research

Highest-Ranked Authors In Immunology Research, 1990-94
Highest-Ranked Authors In Immunology Research, 1990-94
(Ranked by total citations and citation impact among those publishing five or more high-impact papers) Rank Name Institution Number of Papers Total Citations 1 T.A. Springer Harvard University 7 2,801 2 T.R. Mosmannn HHMI*, University of Alberta 16 2,509 3 P. Marrack HHMI, National Jewish Center 10 2,385 4 J.W. Kappler HHMI, National Jewish Center 9 2,381 5 J.A. Ledbetter Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. 16 1,966 6 S. Shaw National Cancer Institute 12 1,788 7 D.F. Fiorentino DNAX Inc. 10 1,754 8 Y. S
Citation Analysis Reveals Immunology's Elite Researchers And Institutions
Citation Analysis Reveals Immunology's Elite Researchers And Institutions
Editor's Note: Recently, the newsletter Science Watch--published by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) in Philadelphia--ranked the citation records of immunology papers published from 1990 to 1994 (6:1-2, May 1995). The report was an update of a similar Science Watch survey of the literature for 1986 to 1990, published three years ago. The recent study, however, also included a listing of highly cited authors, ordered according to the number of citations to their published works in

Hot Paper

Cell Biochemistry
Cell Biochemistry
T. Söllner, M.K. Bennett, S.W. Whiteheart, R.H. Scheller, J.E. Rothman, "A protein assembly-disassembly pathway in vitro that may correspond to sequential steps of synaptic vessel docking, activation, and fusion," Cell, 75:409-18, 1993. (Cited in more than 100 publications through August 1995) Comments by Thomas Söllner, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York TO TRAP A SNAP: In their paper, Thomas Söllner and his colleagues assigned functions to previouslly identified
Developmental Genetics
Developmental Genetics
E. Li, C. Beard, R. Jaenisch, "Role for DNA methylation in genomic imprinting," Nature, 366:362-5, 1993. (Cited in more than 70 publications through August 1995) Comments by Rudolf Jaenisch, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Mass. "The fact that DNA methylation--a modification in which methyl groups are added to cytosine residues--was involved in gene expression had been suggested for a long time," says Rudolf Jaenisch, a professor of biology at the Whitehead Institute f

Profession

Survey: Physiology Faculty Pay Increases Keep Pace With Inflation
Survey: Physiology Faculty Pay Increases Keep Pace With Inflation
The mean salary paid to physiology faculty working in both public and private institutions rose at or above inflation levels in 1993-94 from the levels of the previous academic year, according to a survey issued recently by the Association of Chairmen of Departments of Physiology. The president of the association, Robert Foreman, is chairman of the physiology department at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. Among the findings were that the mean salary paid to the 615 full professorsr
Obituary: Pioneering Neuroscientist Berta Vogel Scharrer Dies
Obituary: Pioneering Neuroscientist Berta Vogel Scharrer Dies
Berta Vogel Scharrer, who, with her late husband, Ernst Scharrer, is considered a pioneer in the field of neuroendocrinology--the study of the interaction between the nervous and endocrine systems--died of natural causes at her home in the Bronx on July 23.
People: Clinton Names MIT Physicist To Influential OSTP Position
People: Clinton Names MIT Physicist To Influential OSTP Position
Later this month, the Senate is expected to confirm President Bill Clinton's June nomination of Ernest J. Moniz to be associate director for science of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), under director and presidential science adviser John H. Gibbons. Currently head of the physics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Moniz, 50, will replace nutrition biologist M.R.C. Greenwood, who resigned in May for personal reasons and has returned to the University of Ca

Technology

Manufacturers Respond To Scientists' Need To Speed Filtration Process
Manufacturers Respond To Scientists' Need To Speed Filtration Process
For researchers who made solutions a quarter-century ago, filtration involved deftly folding a round piece of filter paper into a triangular shape so that it would fit inside the inverted cone of a funnel. Once the paper was fitted inside the funnel, they could filter practically any solution, even those thick with solute--providing they had hours of time to spend watching the clear liquid drip into a flask as the particulate material in the funnel grew thicker and thicker. If they were in a r

Notebook

Notebook
Notebook
Prime Time Physicists Rare Disease Research Lobby Lab Vandal Is Sentenced O.J. And DNA Powerfully Funny Math ACS Kicks In For College Aging Research Fellowships IMAGE-MAKER: Leon Lederman has TV dreams. Concerned about improving the popular image of scientists as personality-free nerds, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman is developing a television pilot that would instead show researchers as "skeptical, creative romantics," according to the New York Times Magazine ("Sunday," Aug.